Dallas 911 Back on Track Saturday, But Misses Target Sunday After Call Takers Call in Sick

Dallas' 911 call takers struggled to answer the phone quickly Sunday after nearly a quarter of the staff called in sick, city officials said Monday.The announcement came after Dallas seemed to get back on track Saturday with the help of call takers working overtime. The city has struggled in recent weeks with technological and staffing issues that have at times left hundreds of people in need holding for the next available call taker.During that time, two people have publicly claimed they were left on hold while trying to get help for people who were dying. Those deaths are under investigation.City officials said Monday that they didn't get any of the call surges that contributed to the previous long wait times for callers. But on Sunday, they had trouble meeting their goals anyway. Fewer than 82 percent of calls were answered within 10 seconds. That is below the national standard for call takers to answer 90 percent of calls within 10 seconds.Only the second-watch shift, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. came close to hitting the 90 percent mark. First watch, which includes late Saturday and early Sunday hours, had only 75 percent of calls answered within 10 seconds.City officials didn't provide many other details in the news release. But the figures seem to point again to a staffing problem.Mayor Mike Rawlings last week acknowledged that the 911 call taker staffing had fallen short. Rawlings said he was "blindsided" that staffing shortages had contributed to the problems.The mayor and other city officials had thought T-Mobile's technical issues were to blame since surges of calls came in periodically to 911, overwhelming call takers, from T-Mobile and MetroPCS phones. The wireless company's officials said they had fixed everything they could on their end last week. City officials also said they have $2 million in the budget this year for some technology upgrades.T-Mobile's engineers -- as well as city technology workers and employees from AT&T, the city's network provider for 911 -- will continue to monitor the situation, city officials said.  Continue reading...

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